The mission of the NJVN is to help New Jersey Veterans and their families enjoy a sustainable quality of life by creating a network of Community Veteran Liaisons (“CVL”) whose role is to identify veterans, and connect them with resources & solutions designed to meet the unique set of veteran needs.
Identify and appoint a volunteer at the county level to be the single point of contact (CVL) to assist veterans in connecting with resources and programs (“Network”) in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, housing and employment. CVLs in this way will in a sense ensure there is “no wrong door” for veterans in need and in turn help veterans and their families achieve a sustainable quality of life post-military service.
Role of the Community Veterans Liaison
Each CVL should be assertive in seeking to identify veterans in their local community using a variety of methods that include but aren’t limited to a county-wide veteran meeting or event designed to draw veterans. This event should include elected officials, leaders from local veteran groups, first responders, educators, social groups, service providers (behavioral health, wellness), churches and other faith-based organizations.
Area veterans can be identified in many instances through tax office records, Veterans Service Organizations such as the VFW & American Legion, recruiters, and elected officials. Note: CVLs need to check policies regarding disclosure of veteran status by/from government agencies and/or records. Best practice: Update the list at least bi-annually.
Veteran rosters/lists should be designed to allow easy communication via email or telephone. The list should include name, telephone number, email address, veteran status (disabled/non-disabled, veteran preference) and home address.
Host a few meetings a year and stay in contact with local veterans and leaders from the New Jersey Veterans Network
Each county is different and may have more or fewer resources, or in some cases unique resources, then do other communities. Communities and CVLs should identify resources and in some cases, may need to evaluate the efficacy of that resource and/or a program.
Subject matter experts, resources and others that may add value to the local community network should be identified as a first order of business by a CVL. Proactively reach out and collaborate with the community members, businesses and local vendors.
SAMPLE Veteran organizations, clubs and groups
Meet with these groups and have their members also assist you with the network. Check your nearby towns to see if they have these organizations or other similar veteran groups. Remember each county may have a veteran officer in place whose role may complement or fill the gap in services. Don’t let perfect get in the way of good. Do the best possible with existing assets/services/programs to help assure veterans know your community is there for them. Feel free to contact your area veteran officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs official(s) for assistance